Linkdown: 8/22/18

– This all sounds very promising; can’t wait to try Sweet Lew’s sometime soon

– Red Bridges has set up their mobile stand, Little Red’s, at the American Legion World Series

– A former fish camp in Gastonia is turning its focus to barbecue after a change in ownership and a new name – Ray Nathan’s Barbecue

– Does the Texas barbecue taxonomy need updating?

– BBQ at The Catering Kitchen is seemingly becoming a must-stop spot in the Atlanta-area (Cumming, to be exact)

– Also in Atlanta, B’s Cracklin’ BBQ will now be available at Atlanta Hawks games at Phillips Arena this season

– Scotty McCreery is looking forward to eating some eastern NC barbecue on his way to headlining the Watermelon Festival in Winterville this weekend

– ICYMI:

– The rapidly franchising Mighty Quinn’s may be opening a Washington, DC location soon

– In other barbecue franchising news, Rodney Scott’s has announced the location for the forthcoming Birmingham store; after the build of a cinder block pit and some minor interior work it could open as early as late October

– The hashtag says it all

Kyle Fletcher’s Barbeque & Catering – Gastonia, NC (RE-REVIEW)

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: Kyle Fletcher’s Barbeque and Catering
Date: 3/30/18
Address: 4507 Wilkinson Blvd, Gastonia, NC 28056
Order: Large chopped sandwich with hush puppies and a sweet tea (link to menu)
Price: $8.41

Monk: In the nearly 4 years since Mrs. Monk surprised me with a Father’s Day mini-barbecue tour of Gastonia, I’ve been wanting to revisit Kyle Fletcher’s Barbecue & Catering to see if I caught them on an off day. Spoiler alert: I didn’t.

Re-reading my review from 2014 gave me a sense of deja vu. Smokers going full blast as I pull into the parking lot? Check. Smokey but dry pork? Check. Hush puppies being slightly above average? Check. Nauseating Carolina decor? Check and check.

The only difference this time was that opted for a large chopped sandwich instead of a tray since I would be taking my order to go and eating in the car on the way back to Charlotte. The slaw that came on this sandwich had an orange-ish tinge to it where I suspect that it may have been a thousand island dressing slaw. In fact, it reminded me of the slaw from R.O.’s Bar-B-Que, which is currently dead last in our Charlotte big board. Must be a Gastonia thing. Oddly, even with this slaw and some sauce, the sandwich was still inexplicably quite dry.

The hush puppies were again the best part of the meal, as they were on that day 4+ years ago.

Kyle Fletcher’s Barbecue & Catering is fine. And the locals certainly seem to love it as it’s packed the crowds both times I have been, both on a Saturday during lunch as well as a Friday for a later lunch. I can’t fault them for their seeming success with the local crowd, but I just wouldn’t necessarily suggest going out of your way for it.

Ratings:
Atmosphere – 1 hog (still)
Pork – 3 hogs
Sides – 3.5 hogs
Overall – 3 hogs

Linkdown: 3/21/18

– Glad to finally see a new review on Marie, Let’s Eat! for Hugh-Baby’s BBQ and Burger Shop though Grant *gulp* doesn’t order barbecue?!?

– John T. Edge of Garden and Gun also profiled Hugh-Baby’s in their February/March issue

– Meet Chef Kelly Tam, the new-ish pastry chef at Midwood Smokehouse (as well as several other FS Food Group restaurants)

– Buxton Hall Barbecue gets a mention on a Charlotte Five guide to Asheville

– A chef born in Charlotte is part of a trio running Liberty Smokehouse in Falls Church, VA, where they got a favorable review from The Washington Post

– Remember Taylor Hicks? The season 5 winner of American Idol has his own food show and the NC episode featuring barbecue from The Pit aired earlier this week

– Side dishes continue to get better at Texas barbecue restaurants, says Texas BBQ Posse

– R.O.’s Bar-B-Cue, started in 1946, is one of the oldest restaurants in Gaston County

– Smoked whole alligator is on the menu at Black Sugar Rib Company in Los Angelos

– Congrats to Rodney Scott, who received a James Beard nomination for Best Chef: Southeast

– Mmm, dessert!

Linkdown: 3/4/15

– The last chapter documenting Marie, Let’s Eat!’s jaunt through the Charlotte area back in January finds them at Black’s Barbecue, among other Gastonia-area places; they also check out Anna’s BBQ in Atlanta in a newer post

– The weather may be 70 degrees now, but this yo-yo weather could strike at any moment so here’s last week’s Charlotte Weekly Yelp which ran down chili options around town, including Queen City Q

–  The Great NC BBQ Map has 5 barbecue road trips that doesn’t include just the usual suspects, which I appreciate

– While John Lewis is off in Charleston starting his namesake barbecue joint, a new head pitmaster has been named at La Barbecue

– That salad’s got nuttin’ on Western Kentucky’s chipped mutton, and Robert Moss investigates

– Alabama has kicked off their own statewide barbecue marketing campaign, dubbed the Year of Alabama BBQ

– A short post on NYC barbecue

A few weekends ago, the city celebrated the smoky flesh at the annual—and free—Hudson River Park Blues BBQ Festival, featuring NYC’s three top pits, Mighty Quinn’s, Delaney and Dinosaur, with dining music provided by five authentic blues outfits. If this is the South’s long-term strategy to take the North, it seems to be working.

– Regarding Louie Mueller Barbecue, Burger Mary has some great photos and says “If you only have time to visit one traditional, iconic and outstanding barbecue joint in Texas, Louie Mueller Barbecue should be it.”

The most underrated barbecue in Memphis, according to First We Feast

– Vote for your favorite Charlotte-area barbecue restaurants in Charlotte Magazine’s Best of the Best Awards

– ICYMI, our photos and recap of last week’s barbecue dinner at Midwood Smokehouse:

R.O.’s Bar-B-Que – Gastonia, NC

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Name: R.O.’s Bar-B-Q
Date: 6/14/14
Address: 1318 Gaston Ave, Gastonia, NC 28052
Order: Minced bbq pork sandwich, hush puppies, half sweet/half unsweet tea (link to menu)
Price: $9.86

After Kyle Fletcher’s, Mrs. Monk was cool with us checking out R.O.‘s Bar-B-Q while we were in Gastonia. Because frankly, we don’t make the trip from Charlotte to Gastonia all that often (slash ever), so might as well take advantage of it. Well me, not so much her; she stayed in the car.

I won’t say it turned out to be a mistake, because at the very least I was able to cross another joint off our list. But it was not even close to being good.

The menu board at the register listed an “oven roasted pork” sandwich, so at least there were no illusions whether or not this was true barbecue. I ordered a barbecue sandwich, hush puppies, and slaw, only to be told that the slaw came on the sandwich. Cool, I thought, since the sides were all a la carte and the hush puppies alone were $2.25 on their own.

Little did I know that the “slaw” that comes on the sandwich is a sauce of what appears to be a thousand island and diced cabbage. Had I known, I would have asked for it on the side. It more or less made the sandwich inedible for me. I had maybe 3 bites before wrapping it back up to throw away.

At least the hush puppies were good – in fact, they were better than the ones we had just had at Kyle Fletcher’s. By far, the best part of the meal.

There must be something that keeps the folks coming to R.O.’s Bar-B-Q since it originally opened in 1946, but I’m not sure what it is. If you are looking for true barbecue in Gastonia, don’t come here. Their version of barbecue is some mutant hybrid that doesn’t fit the definition of traditional barbecue in any way. If you are looking for a good value, you probably shouldn’t come here either. My total was nearly $10, which was more than my meal at Kyle Fletcher’s, and for far less food. That being said, if you are looking for something you haven’t eaten before and likely won’t see too many other places, feel free to check out R.O.’s Bar-B-Q.

-Monk

(For another review of R.O.’s, check out Marie, Let’s Eat!)

Ratings:
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 2 hogs
Pork – 1 hog
Sides – 3 hogs
Overall – 1 Hog

R.O.'s Bar-B-Cue on Urbanspoon

R O'S Barbecue on Foodio54

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Kyle Fletcher’s Barbecue & Catering – Gastonia, NC

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Name: Kyle Fletcher’s Barbecue & Catering
Date: 6/14/14
Address: 4507 Wilkinson Blvd, Gastonia, NC 28056
Order: Small barbecue plate with hush puppies, slaw,  baked beans, fries, and sweet tea (link to menu)
Price: ~$8

First off, I’d like to apologize to Speedy for going to Kyle Fletcher’s without him. Ever since they beat one of our favorites, Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge, in the championship round of the Charlotte Observer’s Best Barbecue in the Charlotte Area bracket year, we had discussed checking it out together. Unfortunately (for Speedy, not me), for Father’s Day Mrs. Monk decided to surprise me with a quick barbecue tour of Gastonia for lunch. So you see it was out of my hands.

The parking lot to Kyle Fletcher’s is a bit of a maze to negotiate, but we were able to find a spot without too much hassle (leaving would be a little trickier). We arrived at 11am on a Saturday, with the smokers are going full blast at the rear of the building, creating a smoky haze in the parking lot. So far so good.

Skipping ahead a little bit, you will see below that I gave the atmosphere 1 hog. That is because I am an NC State fan, and the walls and tables in Kyle Fletcher’s look like Dean Smith and Charles Kuralt collectively threw up on them (i.e. they are covered with UNC memorabilia). The only reason why I didn’t give it 0 hogs was because they did have one NC State baseball jersey on the wall towards the back.

We were able to sit right away but had we arrived 30-45 minutes later we would have been waiting for a table. There were also quite a bit of pick up orders that day. Based on what I saw, the Gastonia locals certainly seem to love this place.

Which is why it was a little unfortunate that while the pork was smoky with a good amount of bark mixed in, I found it to be a bit dry. Using the table dip – a reddish vinegar concoction which I understand is neither an eastern nor Lexington style dip – helped but the texture a bit was still a bit dry nonetheless.

At this point, I must mention that the portions here were huge. Both Mrs. Monk and I got a small plate while we ordered a kids meal for the Monk-ette. Well, as it turns out, the small plates (served in cardboard trays) were really large and the kids plates are average size. I can only imagine the size of the large plate and the giants who must eat them. It was a great value for the money, that’s for sure.

Each plate also comes with hush puppies, slaw, and fries. All were the definition of average, and none particularly stood out except maybe the hush puppies. Still, it was a lot of food for the money.

It would be an understatement to say that I expected more from Kyle Fletcher’s. I can’t see how this place was named the winner of the Barbecue Bracket by the Charlotte Observer panel of judges, unless those folks had a vastly different experience than I did. In fact, Speedy, I would gladly check this place out again with you just to see if this visit could have been an anomaly. That is, if you aren’t still holding a grudge.

-Monk

(For another review of Kyle Fletcher’s, check out Big Wayner BBQ)

Ratings:
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 1 hog
Pork – 3 hogs
Sides – 2.5 hogs
Overall – 3 Hogs
Kyle Fletcher's BBQ & Catering on Urbanspoon
Fletcher's Kyle BBQ & Catering on Foodio54
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Mrs. Monk took me to Kyle Fletcher’s in Gastonia for Father’s Day, where this is considered a “small” barbecue plate. Glad I didn’t order the large. -Monk (at Kyle Fletcher’s Barbeque and Catering)

Linkdown: 4/30/14

– Two Tar Heels issue the true ‘cue challenge in the News and Observer:

So we are issuing a challenge. We will give a handsome “No Faux ’Cue” apron to the first person to email us at truecue@gmail.com with either (1) a citation to any federal, state, county or municipal statute or regulation that makes it impossible for even one North Carolina barbecue restaurant to cook with wood or charcoal or (2) the name and job title of any federal, state, county, or municipal official who has required an existing North Carolina barbecue restaurant to stop cooking with wood or charcoal, or forbidden a new one to start.

– Thrillist’s 7 ways to spot a fake bbq joint

– The Houston Chronicle has hired a full-time barbecue writer (via)

– Big Wayner had a few photos from this past weekend’s BBQ Capital Cook-off in Lexington

– The Capital Cook-off also helped feed more than 1,200 people through food banks

– The final two barbecue stops on the NC road trip for Marie, Let’s Eat! is Sauceman’s in Charlotte and R.O.’s Bar-B-Q in Gastonia; looking forward to Grant’s next NC roadtrip to the eastern part of the state in November

– Speaking of barbecue roadtrips, the guy behind Barbecue Ranking is looking for suggestions:

– Congrats to Midwood Smokehouse, Charlotte Magazine’s Best of the Best Voters’ Choice Winner for Barbecue

– And finally, regarding NC vs Texas barbecue, could Texas Rangers pitcher Matt Harrison have settled the debate?